Hex bar deadlift muscles worked, and the muscles used by a conventional deadlift are practically the same except for one big difference that could be a game-changer for you.
The hex bar deadlift variation places more significant stress on your:
- quadriceps and
- upper trapezius,
and less strain on your:
- glutes, and
- lower back.
Therefore, if you suffer from lower back pain, the hex bar deadlift is an excellent strength training option.
You gain full-body strength and conditioning benefits, without the excessive stress that standard deadlifts place on your lumbar region. Because the weight is closer to your center of gravity, there is less back strain and danger of injury.
The hex bar deadlift muscles worked comprises the following muscle groups:
- Quadriceps muscles
- Hamstrings muscle group
- Erector spinae muscles
- Abdominal core and Obliques
- Latissimus dorsi muscles
- Gripping muscles
Why strongman and powerlifter Alan Thrall is now using the hex bar deadlift
What muscles does a hex bar deadlift work?
The hex bar deadlift targets your quadriceps more than a standard deadlift. It is easier on your lower back because of the position of your center of mass inside the hex bar.
You gain the benefits of squats without having to hold a loaded barbell on your back as in a conventional squat.
Your quadriceps femoris muscle is a four-headed muscle group on the front of your thigh, which covers the femur bone. They are one of the most powerful muscle groups in the human body. This anatomical fact accounts for the transformative strength and power of hex bar deadlifts (aka hex bar squats).
Hex bar deadlifts will work your legs hard, specifically your quadriceps. The quadriceps include:
- Rectus femoris
- Vastus intermedius (sits underneath the rectus femoris.)
- Vastus lateralis
- and Vastus medialis
See additional details about the quadriceps femoris anatomy and function in this video:
Hex bar deadlifts also work your hamstrings, but to a lesser extent than a conventional deadlift.
On the back of your thighs directly opposite your quadriceps are your hamstring muscles, another vital link of your posterior chain. Strong hamstring muscles are critical for success in powerlifting. And they are also responsible for exceptional performance in other sports driven by lower body strength.
Your hamstring muscle group includes the:
- biceps femoris
- semimembranosus and
- Achilles tendon
#4. Adductor muscles group
Hex bar deadlifts also engage the adductor group muscles. The adductor muscles help you move your thighs to your body’s center, and away from your midline.
They are also known as the hip adductors and are composed of:
- Adductor Brevis
- Adductor Longus
- and Adductor Magnus
- The adductor minimus is part of the Adductor Magnus.
Like the gluteus maximus, the Adductor Magnus is one of the most massive muscles in the human body.
#5. Erector spinae muscles
The Erector Spinae muscle consists of three columns of muscles:
- Longissimus, and
Each muscle column runs parallel on the outer sides of the vertebra. They extend from the lower back of the skull down to the Pelvis. You place less tension on your Erector Spinae muscles because of your upright position inside the trap bar. This favorable posture solves the problem of lower back pain when deadlifting.
Al Gerard enabled millions of people with lower back pain to deadlift when he invented the hexagonal barbell.
Muscles used in the hex bar deadlift diagram
One of the main muscle groups engaged in the hex bar deadlift is the erector spinae muscles. These lumbar muscles are worked more intensely in the classic deadlift than the hex bar deadlift.
These are powerful muscles, which help you to bend forward as well as return to a standing position. The spinal erectors run down your back, from the base of your skull to the lower vertebrae.
You work your entire posterior chain, whether you do straight bar or trap bar deadlifts.
#6. Abdominal core muscles and obliques
- Rectus abdominis
- Transverse abdominis
- Internal obliques
- External obliques
Hex bar deadlift abdominal muscles worked Image Credit antranik.org
The hex bar deadlift activates almost every muscle in your body, including your abdominal muscles, as well. One of the essential actions you must take when you perform any type of deadlift is to brace your core. This tightening of your body is known as blocking.
Before any deadlift variation, you must take in a deep breath and contract your abdominal muscles. Bracing your body like this creates intrathoracic pressure, which means stability for the thorax region of your body.
The thorax region is between your abdomen and neck. This pressure helps you stabilize and support your spine while you perform a weighted deadlift.
And to prevent injury of your spine, you must maintain this intrathoracic pressure during all phases of a deadlift.
Therefore, you stabilize your spine in any type of deadlift with your abdominal muscles.
Warning: Always maintain a flat back, throughout the hex bar deadlift.
To maintain a flat back, take a deep breath, contract your abs, and keep this intraabdominal pressure throughout the deadlift. Bracing prevents injury to your spine during deadlifts, as well as when you deadlift with a trap bar.
#7. Latissimus dorsi muscles
As you brace and engage your lats, the hex bar deadlift works your latissimus dorsi muscles.
Latissimus dorsi Image Credit yoganatomy.com
The trapezius is a diamond-shaped muscle that extends from your neck to the middle of your back. Hex bar deadlifts will work the upper region of the trapezius more intensely than conventional deadlifts.
- The superior or upper region
- Middle portion
- The inferior or lower region
The infraspinatus muscle is one of the four muscles of the rotator cuff. It helps stabilize your shoulder joint.
#10. Gripping muscles
Look no further than any deadlift variation if you want to develop phenomenal grip strength. The main gripping muscles worked by the hex bar deadlift include:
- Flexors digitorum profundus,
- Digitorum superficialis,
- Pollicis longus, and
- Digiti minimi brevis
Hex Bar Deadlift Muscles Worked – Final Thoughts
The hex bar deadlift, if done with proper form, can dramatically change your body. And not only if you use heavier weights. Even deadlifting lighter weights can have a profound impact on your health and fitness.
You can transform from a couch potato to lean and muscular. The hex bar deadlift works most of the muscles of your entire body from your head to your feet.
Hex bar and traditional deadlifts target all the major muscle groups of your body, which is the reason they are both so transformative.
Therefore, a progressive hex bar deadlift program will change your body even if you’re a beginner. And you will still want to use hex bar deadlifts as an elite athlete to build power or rehabilitation.
For example, Stephen Curry, the most exceptional shooter in NBA basketball history, rehabilitated his injury-prone ankles with hex bar deadlifts:
- builds muscle,
- fights obesity,
- improves confidence,
- strengthens and conditions your entire body,
- boosts your mood,
- helps to rehabilitate leg injuries,
- allows you to deadlift despite lower back problems
For more deadlift details like:
- starting position
- range of motion
- hip or shoulder-width, and
- deficit deadlift tips